Blu-ray Premiums On DVD Rentals

Why do companies like Blockbuster and Netflix charge their customers a premium for renting Blu-ray DVDs? Earlier this week Blu-ray.com posted a story about Netflix charging their customers more money for renting Blu-ray titles - Netflix Shakes Down Blu-ray Renters… Again!

In Canada, the equivalent of Netflix is Zip.ca. At the moment, Zip doesn’t charge a premium for renting Blu-ray titles but I have to wonder how much longer they will continue this policy. Canadian companies often copy what American companies are doing, for better or worse.

Blockbuster Online (in the US) doesn’t charge more for Blu-ray titles, yet Blockbuster stores in Canada do. As of April 3, 2009, Blockbuster Canada movie rentals are:

  • $7.22 for Blu-ray titles
  • $6.43 for DVD titles

Rogers Video movie rentals are a little bit cheaper:

  • $6.99 for Blu-ray titles
  • $5.99 for DVD titles

So why does anybody charge more for Blu-ray discs? Netflix will tell you that the movie studios charge higher prices for Blu-ray and they have to pass those costs on to the consumer. Blockbuster is fighting for its life and probably doesn’t charge more for Blu-ray discs just to stay competitive. Viacom owns Blockbuster and Paramount PIctures. I’m guessing that Blockbuster probably pays little to nothing for titles from Paramount Pictures.

Zip.ca vs Netflix Pricing

The Official Netflix Blog has all the details on the new Blu-ray pricing and it isn’t really that bad when you compare it to its Canadia counterpart, Zip.ca.

Zip.ca offers:

  • 4 DVDs out at-a-time (11 per month)
  • Monthly plan cost: $24.95
  • Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: None
  • Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $24.95

Netflix offers:

  • 4 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
  • Monthly plan cost: $23.99 (USD)
  • Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $5
  • Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $28.99 (USD)

The Zip.ca plan limits you to 11 titles per month and costs $31.43 (USD). The Netflix paln is $28.99 (USD) and you get unlimited rentals. Canadians are also paying more tax on their movie rentals. Even with the premium pricing on Blu-ray discs, Netflix customers are getting a pretty good deal compared to their Canadian neighbours.

Posted in Movies at 12:06 PM